Yearning to own a small patch of land and be more than a chicken sexer, the ambitious paterfamilias, Jacob Yi, relocates his Korean-American family, sceptical wife, Monica, and their children, David and Anne, from California to 1980s rural Arkansas, to start afresh and capture the elusive American Dream. However, new beginnings are always challenging, and to find out what is best for the family, let alone start a 50-acre farm to grow and sell Korean fruits and vegetables, is easier said than done. But, amid sincere promises, cultural unease, fleeting hopes, and the ever-present threat of financial disaster, Jacob is convinced that he has found their own slice of Eden in the rich, dark soil of Arkansas. Can grandma Soon-ja's humble but resilient minari help the Yi family figure out their place in the world?Written by
Writer and director Lee Isaac Chung wrote in the Los Angeles Times about how he came to write Minari. He was about to start teaching full time for the sake of his family and thought he would write one final script in the few months before the job began. Desperate for inspiration, he closed his eyes at his regular coffee shop and the words "Willa Cather" rang in his ears. Looking her up, he saw she was a novelist who wrote about life on the Great Plains, and he fell in love with her novel My Antonia. He learned that Cather initially imitated famous novelists who wrote about city life, thinking her own rural experience wouldn't be accepted. She felt unfulfilled and then wrote successful rural stories that were true to herself. She said, "Life began for me, when I ceased to admire and began to remember." Reflecting on this, Chung said, "I wondered if the voice was leading me to these words, so that I would begin to trust in my own. As an exercise, I devoted an afternoon to writing my memories of childhood. I remembered our family's arrival at a single-wide trailer on an Ozark meadow and my mother's shock at learning that this would be our new home. I recalled the smell of freshly plowed soil and the way the color of it pleased my father. I remembered the creek where I threw rocks at snakes while my grandmother planted a Korean vegetable that grew without effort. With each memory, I saw my life anew, as though the clouds had shifted over a field I had seen every day. After writing 80 memories, I sketched a narrative arc with themes about family, failure and rebirth. That's how I got the idea to write 'Minari'; it began for me, when I ceased to admire and began to remember." See more »
Remember what we said when we got married? That we'd move to America and save each other?
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Minari offers an encouraging and engaging view of the immigrant experience while also recognising the hardships that go alongside. Chung's naunced portrait of Family figuring out their place in the world is both small snd somehow rather grand, after it continues to win over the remaining crowds here, it'll soon be winning you over as Well.
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